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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 13, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm EST

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problems and to strengthen the safety, security and accountability of our nation's pharmaceutical drug supply chain. the drug quality and security act which we have before us today includes provisions that will establish strong, uniformed prescription drug tracing standards that reflect today's realities and ensures a safer and more secure pharmaceutical drug supply chain. the drug quality and security act establishes a uniform electronic unit level system over the next decade that will increase the security and ensure a safer pharmaceutical drug supply chain from manufacturers all the way to dispensers. this legislation will require trading partners to be authorized and to pass and receive information as part of their transactions. it raises the wholesale distribution licensing standard. it establishes licensure standards for third-party
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logistics providers and requires suspect and ill legitimate products -- il legitimate products to be appropriately apy handled. ike like to thank senator harkin and senator alexander for their leadership on this bill. i'd especially like to recognize senator bennet who has been a strong partner throughout the crafting of this legislation. for more than a year we've worked on this bipartisan legislation with our colleagues and have finally achieved an important balance with this bill. and i might adhere, madam president, we were told this couldn't be done. we were told this is too difficult. but for a year and a half, we have tackled this objective. congress has the opportunity today to proactively put in place uniform, workable standards that will allow stakeholders greater regulatory certainty and give patients the confidence they deserve in the safety and security of our nation's pharmaceutical drug supply chain. congress's opportunity today are
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twofold. this is legislation -- this legislation is also a chance to respond to a crisis that impacted the lives of hundreds of patients nationwide, and i hope my colleagues will join me in supporting the drug quality and security act. madam president, to follow up the conversations on today's bill, i listened to my good friend, senator blunt, talk about aaron, one of those americans caught in the cross hairs of the affordable care act and its unintended consequences. i was home this weekend. i was stopped by five individuals, five individuals with practically the identical story. they came up and they said, richard, i was covered, i had insurance. i have no preexisting conditions nor does anybody in my family. i had a $10,000 deductible insurance policy that cost me about $450 a month. and i had the security of knowing it was there.
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well, i just got my new notice and my insurance went to a $15,000 deductible and my monthly premium is $1,440. these are five individuals, five different families but with the similar story. and i think of the yearlong debate which we had on the affordable care act and the claims that were made -- reduce premiums, bring down health care costs, provide coverage for those that don't have it. today what do we see? today's snapshot -- and this may change -- disfunctional web site, 5 million people who have been notified that they've lost their insurance, a very tepid enrollment of individuals. but i think what's gotten lost in the realities today are the hundreds of thousands of
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americans who are like -- that were like the five that came up to me this weekend. they're still getting insurance. their deductible went up to $15,000. their premium went up to $1,440 a month. tell me where in that this is affordable? tell me where in this process they got a better plan than they had before? their deductible went up $5,000. that means the first $15,000 of their health care is coming right out of their pocket and they're paying $1,440 a month to have the security of knowing there's insurance after that. clearly these are five americans that would tell me, this falls woefully short of the promise that was made to them. and i'd be willing to bet that in every state, in every house district around the country, we're going to continue to hear stories about this. let me just say, we will i'm sure debate heavily where we move to from here but don't
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forget under this bill, now that we have extend the enrollment period to march 31, that under the law, every insurer who bids to be in the exchange starting april 1 of next year through april 27 will have to submit their bids for 2015. let me say that again. for every insurer that wants to be in the exchange starting april 1 of next year through april 27, they will have to submit their premium bids for 2015. they're going to do it having no experience with the pool of insured lives because we've extended until march 31 the enrollment. that's assuming that the web site gets fixed. that's assuming -- that assumes that people are going to enroll. and with little actuarial history, these insurance companies are going to have to bid for 2015. imagine what the premium cost is
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going to be in 2015 when it's not 5% of the american people that are now in the exchange, it's 100%, it's all the employers that are impacted by 2015 prices. i've always been taught that there are signs that you should pay attention to. when five people come up to you and say, listen, my deductible went from dollars 10,000 to $15,000, my premium went from $45 to $ 1,440, that's a warning sign. we ought to listen to it. we've still got a chance to fix but most of it means, like senator blunt talked about, when you've got a high-risk pool in missouri and north carolina, keep the high-risk pool. we can manage it much better on a state level than we can to nationalize and do top-down health care in this country. madam president, this won't be the end of the conversations on the affordable care act. the american people deserve better than this and this congress must produce it. i yield the floor.
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mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, there's an old expression used by many hoosiers and others across america that's time-tested -- "your word is your bond." in indiana, like so many other places across the country, we value honesty and good, old-fashioned truth telling even if it hurts a little bit to hear the truth. having spent the last previous four days in indiana listening to hoosiers, it's clear that so many people in my state, and i think i can -- as i read, nationwide -- are pretty fed up with washington right now, and they have reason to be. they're frustrated because promises that were made to them are being broken. outright guarantees have been disregarded. president obama, both before and after his signature legislation, now called obamacare, passed,
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promised all americans that they could keep their health insurance plans if they liked those plans. it was a promise repeated over and over again. for many americans, it was the sole reason why they supported the affordable care act, or so-called affordable care act. but the president's guarantee, announced publicly by him several times, simply was not true. in recent months, millions of americans have received notification that their plans are being canceled because of the obamacare law, and reports indicate now that the white house has known this for over three years. that these cancellations were coming. so when the american people found out that the white house knew the bad news was coming all along, they were, to put it mildly, not happy.
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now, it's clear even some of those who voted for obamacare and continued to support it are now agreeing with a majority of americans that the president's health care law simply is not workining. one such member has floated the idea of having the government accountability office and the inspector general for the department of health and human services conduct -- and i quote -- "a complete, thorough investigation to determine the causes of the design and implementation failures of healthcare.government. healthcare.gov." let me repeat that. "a complete inspection and thorough examination -- investigation about the design" -- so we're talking more here than just about a glitch in setting up the web site, we're talking about the fundamental policies and provisions that
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undermine this law going forwa forward. so fixing the web site, if that happens and can happen -- and eventually i think it would have to happen -- that's not the real problem. the real problem here is a flawed design or at least one democrat's indication that this is what the -- there's deep suspicion that there's more fundamentally wrong with this than just simply a glitch in the implementation. two others have introduced a bill entitled -- and i quote again the bill's name -- "keeping the affordable care act promise." a house democrat recently stated -- and i quote -- "i think the president was grossly misleading to the american public when he promised americans they could keep their health care coverage if they liked it." now even former president bill clinton has said that he thinks the president's pledge to allow americans to keep their coverage should be honored. in an interview this week, the
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former president clinton said -- and i quote -- "so i personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment that the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got." this is growing admission from the supporters of obamacare that we are dealing with more than just a web site glitch, we are dealing with fundamental policy design flaws. and so i agree with president clinton, regardless of whether or not you support obamacare, there should be 100% bipartisan support for letting americans keep what they had been promised. that their existing health care insurance plans, if they liked them, they can keep them. it's time to acknowledge, however, as senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said yesterday, that it goes beyond this, that the affordable care act is beyond repair. this disastrous law needs to be repealed and replaced with real
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reforms that drive down the cost of health care, increase the quality of care, and put the patients,not washington bureaucrats, in charge of their health care decisions. unfortunately, this president and senate democrats have made it clear they will never allow a repeal bill to pass despite all the broken promises to the american people and despite the fact that the law simply isn't working. it has serious design flaws. now, given this reality, the appropriate step i believe, and one with growing support, even bipartisan support, is for a one-year delay of the implementation of obamacare. i've offered a bill to delay the obamacare mandates on the individual side to join with the president's already made decision to have a one-year delay of the employer mandate, so that all americans can have the same relief, not just
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business but individuals who are also subject to this law. by delaying the mandates, all the mandates, in this health care law, we can give the american people a fundamental choice when they go to the polls in 2014 -- condition obamacare r replace it with sensible, affordable reforms that drive down the cost of care, increase the quality, and, most important, put patients, not washington bureaucrats, in control of their health care decisions and their health future. i would say this in closing, mr. president, your word needs to be your bond. as albert einstein once said, "whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." madam president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: and i ask for permission to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you. madam president, it hasn't been even a month since the end of the government shutdown and they are already back trying to paralyze the government again. yesterday the kwepbz -- republicans blocked a up-or-down vote on the nomination of nina pilllard. this filibuster comes one week after the republicans filibustered the nomination of patricia millett to the d.c. circuit and less than a year after republicans filibustered caitlin halligan who eventually gave up and withdrew her nomination. republicans now hold the dubious distinction of having filibustered all three women that president obama nominated
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to the d.c. circuit. now, collectively these women have diverse experiences in private practice, in government and in public interest law. between them, they have argued an amazing 45 cases before the supreme court and have participated in many more. all three have the support of a majority of senators. so why have they been filibustered? well, the reason is simple. they're caught in a fight over the future of our courts, a fight over whether the courts will be a neutral forum that decides every dispute fairly or whether the courts will be stacked in favor of the wealthy and the powerful. every day in congress we deal with the influence of powerful groups and their armies of lobbyists. but in our democracy, when we write laws, sometimes we can push back on that power. in our democracy, we have tools that can be used in the
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legislative process, tools like open debate and public opinion and political accountability, tools that can help the people win these fights. i saw it happen up close in the 2008 financial crisis when we were able to get a strong consumer financial protection bureau despite the efforts of the large financial institutions to kill it. but the story doesn't end when congress passes a law. powerful interests don't just give up. they shift their fight to the courts because they know that if they can weaken or 0 overturn a law in court, they turn defeat into victory. and if they can rig the courts by putting enough sympathetic judges in lifetime positions, a friendly judicial system will give them a chance to undermine any law they don't like. that's already happening in the supreme court. three well-respected legal
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scholars, including judge richard pozner of the 7th circuit, a distinguished judge and skaefrbt reagan ap-- and a reagan appointee looked at cases from the last 65 years. researchers concluded the five conservative justices currently sitting on the supreme court are in the top ten most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century. and justices alito and roberts, number one and number two. take a look at the win rate of the chamber of commerce in cases before the supreme court. according to the constitutional accountability center, the national chamber moved from a 43% win rate during the last five terms of the burger court to a 56% win rate under the rehnquist court to a 70% win
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rate under the roberts court. follow this procorporate trend to its logical conclusion and pretty soon you'll have a supreme court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business. the powerful interests that work to rig the supreme court also want to rig the lower courts. the d.c. circuit is a particular target because that court has the power to overturn agency regulations. if a business doesn't like it when the agencies implement the will of congress, they try to undermine those agencies through the d.c. circuit. in the next five years the d.c. circuit will decide some of the most important cases of our time, including cases that will decide whether wall street reform will have real bite or whether it will just be toothless. swaps dealers, the securities industry, the business round table and the chamber of
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commerce are all lining up to challenge the new rules that agencies have written to try to put some tooth into wall street reform and to other laws. these big industry players want business-friendly judges to help them out. so let's be clear. nine of the 14 judges on the d.c. circuit who currently hear cases are appointed by republican presidents. the president with the most appointees on that court right now is ronald reagan, and this lopsided court has been busy striking down environmental regulations that stop companies from spewing mercury into the air we breathe, striking down investor protections that hold corporate boards accountable, striking down a requirement for employers to provide access to birth control under obamacare. each of these regulations exists because congress has passed laws telling the agencies to write
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them. now it's true that sometimes an agency may get it wrong, but these days the d.c. circuit seems to be finding more and more ways to help bail out the businesses that never wanted to be regulated in the first place. republicans have noticed what's going on in this lopsided court. they would like to keep things the way they are, and they have not been subtle about it. many republicans have talked openly of their opposition to any new judges to fill the three vacancies on this court, precisely because the new nominees will give the court more balance and fairness. republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lobbyists and lawyers a second chance to undercut the will of congress, but that's not the job of judges. judges aren't supposed to make law.
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judges aren't supposed to tilt politically one way or the other. republicans may not like wall street reform. they may not like obamacare. but congress passed those laws. president obama signed those laws. president obama ran for reelection on those laws, while his opponent pledged to repeal them and his opponent lost by nearly five million votes. it is not up to judges to overturn those laws or their associated regulations just because they don't fit the judge's policy preferences. there are three vacancies on the d.c. circuit and the president has nominated three impressive people to fill those vacancies, including patricia millett and nina pilllard. these nominees are not ideological. they have extraordinary legal resumes and have received bipartisan support from top litigators around the country.
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they are among the top legal minds of a generation. this is how the president plans to push back against efforts to tilt our judicial system, by nominating judges who will be judges, judges who will be fair, judges who will be even handed, judges who will have the diversity of professional experience to understand and consider all sides of an issue. i understand that republicans may prefer to keep the d.c. circuit exactly as it is, but article 2, section 2, of the constitution says that the president of the united states nominates judges with the advice and consent of the senate. there is no clause that says except when that president is a democrat. democrats allowed president george w. bush to put four very conservative judges on the d.c. circuit. all four are still serving.
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one as chief justice of the united states supreme court. there are three vacancies in the d.c. circuit court of appeals. the president of the united states has nominated judges to fill those vacancies. that's his job. and it is the job of the senate to confirm highly qualified independent judges. that's how our system works. that's what the constitution demands. republicans these days don't seem to like that. they keep looking for ways to keep this president from doing his job. so far, they have shut down the government, they have filibustered people he has nominated to fill out his administration, and they are now filibustering judges to block him from filling any of the vacancies with highly qualified people. we need to call out these filibusters for what they are. make it attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election. to force us to govern as those president obama hadn't won the
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2012 election. president obama did win the 2012 election by five million votes, and he has done what the constitution requires him to do: nominated highly qualified people to fill open vacancies on the federal bench. if republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason other than to nullify the president's constitutional authority, then senators not only have the trite change the filibuster -- have the right to change the filibuster rules, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules. we cannot turn our backs on the constitution. we cannot abdicate our oath of office. we have a responsibility to protect and defend our democracy, and that includes protecting the neutrality of our ports and preserving -- of our
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courts and preserving the power of the president to nominate highly qualified people to court vacancies. thank you, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. and i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resum consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 3204, which the clerk report. the clerk: motion to proceed to h.r. 3204, an act to amend the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act with respect to human drug compounding and drug supply chain security, and for other purposes.
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ms. warren: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, the question of the week is, more important than apologizing, is will president obama live up to his promise that americans can keep the care that they like? democrats are clearly embraced from running away from this law. former president clinton said just recently, yesterday, publicly that, "i perso personay believe, if it takes a change to the larks the president should honor the commitment that the federal government made to those people and let them keep what of this a got." that's what former president clinton yesterday in an interstliew he did. so fo more and more we see peope on the democratic side of the aisle, madam president, coming forward and acknowledging what many of us have been acknowledging for a long time and that is that this thing is
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not living up to expectations. we need a timeout. it is clearly not working. and it's not ready for prime time. and it's obvious that we need to acknowledge that and come up with a plan b. senator durbin here in the senate said in an interview said that the cancellations that people might face in their cancellations under obamacare should have been clarified. democratic representative curt schroeder from oregon thinks the president was misleading the american public and he said, "i think the president was grossly misleading to the american public." end quote. senator feinstein who is not up for reelection supporting legislation that would require insurance plans to continue to allow individuals to maintaining enrollment in the plans that they like. madam president, these mistruths are clearly affecting the president's credibility. his approval ratings have doipped a record low. another poll that was just
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released shows that respondents disapprove of the president's job performance by a 54-39 margin. his approval of 39% is worse than his previously all-time low of 41% in a survey done previously. further, more people, 52%, say that the president is not honest and trust worthy. we're on the verge of another misstatement from this administration where they made promises to the american people that they do not meet. last month the administration promised that they would have healthealthcare.gov fixed by thd of november. it appears unlukely according to today's "washington post" "troubled healthcare.gov unlikely to work by the end of november." for proof that this web site design has been failure of leadership shal dpair to cyber y volume on amazon.com. according to amazon.com's press release, it sold 27 million
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items on cyber monday or 306 items per second. that's how the private comirks the private sector has been able to process huge volumes of data and requests. so you compare and contrast that with the rollout of obamacare anand healthcare.gov, it is a stunning failure and epic in terms of the inability of that whole program to function with any level of competence. it is clear that the technology exists to fix the web site and handle high vosms the president has said that the health care law is more than just a web site. madam president, that's where most of us come down on this issue. this is a flawed policy that's causing millions of americans to lose the health care that they like. most of us know someone who's had his or her health care canceled by obamacare. and it's going to get worse.
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the associated press throorts at least 3 -- reports that at least 3.5 million people have received cancellation notices and that number is expected to increase to tens of millions of people. as americans and millions more are losing their plans, only thousands are signing up through obamacare. constituents are encouraged, madam president, we've got people out there to -- to visit, we have a web site, open.senate.gov/your story to submit their stories about how this is impacting them personally because the american people deserve to have their stories heard and americans deserve to have the president and congressional democrats keep their promise. madam president, we believe that what foreman president clinton said -- former president clinton said yesterday is corrected, and that is that the president, president obama, should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got. that's essentially where we are today, and i would simply ask rhetorically, what is the president, what is he going to do to address and to honor the
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promise that he made to the american people, that they can keep what they have? increasingly, you're seeing more and more people -- and, of course, there are many of us on this side of the aisle who predicted this would happen a long time ago -- but even now more and more democrats who are realizing that this was an ill-conceived policy. i've maintained for a long time that it's built upon a faulty foundation and, therefore, you cannot just fix a web site or have an i.t. specialist come in and expect this thing to get better. this is a flawed policy. it's having profound harmful impacts on the american people already. we believe many more to come into the future, as this thing is fully implemented. and so the best thing that we could do for the american people is to minimize the impact and the harm, is to put off, suspend, delay, whatever you want to call it, the implementation of this and -- and, frankly, the best thing that we could do in the long run is to move in a different direction. to pivot away from this failed policy and move us in a
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direction that actually does address some of the fundamental problems that we have in health care in this country today. and i think, frankly, there's a whole list of solutions that republicans have advanced, have been for in the past, for example, allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, create interstate competition so you have insurance companies competing with each other. obviously when you've got competition, when you've got the forces of the market at work there, it helps bring costs, bring prices down. allowing small tboises join large -- businesses to join larger groups to get the benefit of group purchasing power, to pool, if you will. that's something that we've been proposing for some time and has consistently been defeated by democrats here in congress. reducing the costs of defensive medicine by doing away with th the -- ending the junk lawsuits that clog up our legal system and drive up the cost of health care in this country. allowing an expanded use of health savings accounts and those types of vehicles that are out there for people today to
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put money aside for their health care needs. allowing people to have a refundable tax credit that they can buy their own insurance, giving them more choices, creating more competition, and, again, putting downward pressure on the costs and the price of health care in this country. those are commonsense step-by-step solutions, madam president, that we think would work so much better than having one-sixth of our entire economy, which is what health care represents, taken over by the federal government. whenever you have political control of one-sixth of the american economy, you've got a command-and-control in washington, d.c. that is driving decision making across this country. and as we've already seen, the federal government does not do complicated tasks very well. and the federal government doesn't do comprehensive very well. everybody talked about a comprehensive solution to this problem. well, clearly we have problems in america today that need to be addressed. we have a lot of people who don't have health care. that needs to be fixed. we have people with preexisting conditions. that needs to be addressed. but there are solutions to those
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problems that don't include and don't entail having the federal government literally take over one-sixth of the american economy, which is what happened with obamacare. and we're seeing the impacts and the results of that today, madam president. so i would suggest that we -- we take a time-out, that we make a decision, a conscious decision, to move in a different direction, a direction that will lead to lower costs for people in this country, higher quality of care, allow people to keep the -- the plan that they like, if they like it, allow people to keep the doctor that they like, and -- and -- and keep the cost of health care at an affordable level. one thing we've seen since th the -- obamacare has been passed and now in the process of being implemented is the promise, too, that people would see their health care costs go down, not up. that promise is another broken promise, because what we're seeing in america today is canceled policies, and as people try to get new policies,
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increased costs. we're seeing that in the individual marketplace. the president, when he was campaigning for his health care law, said that he would drive the costs down for families by $2,500 per family, and yet we've seen the costs per family increase since he took office by $2,500. and we've got a -- a -- just a -- an effect on our economy, a cloud hanging over our economy right now because of this massive, new regulation, massive amount of government mandate and requirements that people offer government-approved insurance. we redefine now the work week from a 40-hour work week to a 30-hour work week and so we have a lot of employers who are creating not full-time jobs but part-time jobs. people -- employers are now, to avoid the mandates and the requirements and the costs associated with obamacare, are hiring people to get under that 30-hour work week. and so you've got a lot of people now that are being hired at 20 -- 29 hours a week.
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well, you can't take care of a family, you can't meet the needs that you have in your personal and family budget on 29 hours a week. so more and more people are having to get more than one job. in fact, manufacture the jobs that have been -- many of the jobs that have been created this last year, by some estimates, the majority of jobs created this past year have been part-time jobs, not full-time jobs. that's the overall impact on the economy. and we're serious now about getting the economy growing and expanding again, creating jobs, good-paying jobs for middle-class americans, there are a number of things that we can do to create that kind of economic growth. and what we've seen of late is a growth rate that hovers between 1% and 2%. it's lethargic. it's sluggish by comparison to any historic average. we continue to have chronic high unemployment. and if you factor in the -- the fact that the labor participation force, it is at the lowest level literally in the last 35 years, you have to go back to the administration of
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president carter to find a time when there were fewer people as a percentage working as a -- as a percentage of the entire work force, you factor that in and you've got a -- you've got an economy that's in a -- in a real bad way, madam president. and there are, as i said, a whole series of things that -- that need to be done to get the economy growing and expanding at a faster rate, creating more jobs, increasing the take-home pay for middle-class americans. but it really starts with starting over, getting a do-over on obamacare and moving in a direction that actually -- madam president, i would ask for an additional one minute, unanimous consentment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. thune: i would suggest, madam president, that it starts with shutting this down and -- and starting over and creating a -- you know, more options, more choices, more competition in the health care economy in this country so that people can get away from the sticker shock that we've seen with obamacare and get costs down, get away from these cancellation notices that are going out, allow people
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to keep the care that they have and that they like, and allow them to keep the doctor that they have and they like. all of which right now are not -- is not happening and all of which are broken promises under obamacare. so, madam president, we can do better. we should do better for the american people. but until we decide that this was the wrong direction and pivot and go in daimpt direction, we're going to -- different direction, we're going to continue to see the results that we have today -- higher costs, more cancellations, people not being able to keep the care that they like or the doctor that they like. we can do better and we should do better. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. franken: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: madam president, i'd like to talk for a few minutes about a subject that will affect all of us at some pointed in our lives, the safety of our medicine. if my child or my wife urgently needed medicine, i would have a number of questions. will my loved one get well? what's going to happen?
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but i should never have to ask the question whether the medicine that my family is given is safe. and whether it is what the doctor says it should be. but more than a thousand patients and their families across minnesota found it necessary to ask that question last year during the meningitis outbreak. they had to ask that question because the contaminated medicine that they received could have caused them enormous harm. more than 700 patients across the country got sick and more than 60 died after receiving these contaminated injections produced by a large-scale compounding pharmacy in massachusetts that essentially was an unregulated drug manufacturer. in minnesota, we specialize in medical innovation. we have some of the best doctors and health care systems and
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biomedical pioneers anywhere in -- in the world. and our nation has an incredible capacity for innovation and development in this field. there is no possible explanation that can justify the fact that more than 17,000 vials of contaminated medicine were shipped to providers throughout the country. that should simply not be happening. that's why the legislation that we are set to pass and that i helped to write is so important. it will go a long way toward making compounded medications safer and preventing another outbreak like the one we had a little over a year ago. many people don't know what pharmacy compounding is, including many patients who have received compounded medicine. compounding is a traditional practice of a pharmacy where a pharmacist makes a new drug or takes an existing one and changes it based on a particular
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patient's needs. say a patient needs a drug and is allergic to one ingredient in it, a pharmacy can remake the drug or compound it without that ingredient based on a doctor's prescription. and pharmacists and pharmacies are regulated by the states. this practice of tailoring medications for individual people is incredibly important and it has always been a part of practicing pharmacy. it will continue under the bill that we have written. but that is not what happened in massachusetts last year. instead, a facility exploited a legal loophole to make thousands of doses of a product that was not f.d.a. approved and sold it to hospitals and clinics across the country without receiving a prescription. and as i said, more than 700 patients got sick after
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receiving that medicine and 64 died. that's why my colleagues and i have worked so hard over the past year to develop the bill before us today, the drug quality and security act, which takes important steps toward preventing this kind of outbreak in the future. i'd like to take a moment to thank my friends on both sides of the aisle and in both the senate and the house who have worked so hard on this legislation. i'd like to thank chairman tom harkin for his leadership and for the bipartisan help committee staff process that was crucial to producing this legislation. i'd also like to thank ranking member lamar alexander and senator pat roberts for their commitment to getting this bill right. i'd also like to thank the staff who worked so hard on this bill. specifically, i'd like to thank janelle christian-amorte, elizabeth youngman, and nathan
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brown. with senator harkin, mary sumpter and gray stumps. and with jennifer boyar with senator roberts for their hard work and dedication to developing this important legislation. i'd also like to thank hanna catch on my staff, who has worked tirelessly on this bill. i'd also like to thank chairman upton and ranking member waxman and their colleagues in the house for their work as well as the many stakeholders who have worked productively with us to develop and improve this proposal. in particular, i counted on input from the minnesota board of pharmacy, the minnesota pharmacists association, thrifty white pharmacy and many other experts and pharmacists in minnesota who helped us get this bill right. is our legislation perfect? no. there were a number of provisions in the bill that we passed out of the help committee that would have provided additional safety and quality
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assurances for patients, but in order to come to a compromise with the house of representatives, our legislation changed. although the final bill does not include everything i would have liked, the bill before us today will take an enormous step forward for patient safety. the bill will reinstate the law that allows the food and drug administration to regulate large-scale compounders that have exploited a loophole in the law in order to act effectively as unregulated drug manufacturers. it will also give hospitals and health systems the option of buying compounded products from facilities that are inspected by the f.d.a. and are complying with the f.d.a.'s quality standards, and it will do all of that without changing the rules for traditional pharmacies which will continue to be regulated by their state boards of pharmacy.
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specifically, our bill creates a new option for facilities that want to provide compounded drugs to hospitals and health centers. these entities called outsourcing facilities will be inspected by the f.d.a. and will have high-quality standards and the hospitals that buy from these facilities will be able to trust that the compounded medicine that they buy from outsourcing facilities is safe. and if a compounder chooses not to be either a traditional pharmacy or an outsourcing facility, the f.d.a. will be responsible for making sure that that compounder complies with the normal requirements for pharmaceutical manufacturers. those are the options, unlike what we saw in massachusetts, these facilities will no longer be able to occupy an unregulated no man's land. so under the new law, there will be traditional pharmacies which will continue to be regulated at
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the state level. outsourcing facilities which the f.d.a. will oversee and pharmaceutical manufacturers which will be regulated by the f.d.a. as they have been. i'm also pleased that the bill we wrote on compounding is paired today with another bill on the drug supply chain which is aimed at making sure that the f.d.a.-approved medicine that patients receive is safe and has not been tampered with. by creating a national system to track drugs from the time they leave the manufacturer until they are dispensed to patients, this legislation will provide certainty that our medicines are what they say they are. my colleagues, senator bennet and burr, have been working on this proposal for more than two years, and i'd like to thank them for their work and congratulate them on this important achievement. my home state of minnesota is a model for pharmacy practice
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nationwide. not only does our state have important protections for compounding pharmacies that have kept the medicine made in minnesota safe, but minnesota pharmacists have also led the nation in developing innovative new ways of helping their patients get the right medicine at the right time. for example, pharmacists at hennepin county medical center in minneapolis found that when a pharmacy reviewed prescriptions for patients with complex conditions before they were discharged from the hospital, those patients had fewer problems related to their medicine and were 50% less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. so it saved a lot of money. it cost hcmc about $112,000 for pharmacists to provide this service, and it saved the hospital nearly $600,000. this is exactly, exactly the kind of innovation that we are known for in minnesota, and our
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pharmacists are on the front lines of this kind of reform and discovery. the pharmacists at hcmc and those around minnesota do incredibly important work. they provide access to needed medicine for thousands of patients every day. those pharmacists and their patients must be able to trust that the medicine is safe and that it will work. the drug quality and security act will take an important step toward preventing another outbreak like the one that we saw last year, and i urge my colleagues to join me in passing the drug quality and security act into law. thank you, and i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, a front-page story yesterday, the white house -- excuse me, "the wall street journal" reported that fewer than 50,000 people had successfully used the
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federal obama web site to enroll in a private health plan. less than 50,000. meanwhile, we know that millions of americans are already getting a cancellation notice from their insurance company, telling them that their current policy, even if they like it, will no longer be available. in other words, if you like what you have, it turns out you can't keep it, as millions of people are finding. no less a luminary in the democratic party that -- than president clinton has said that obamacare should be reformed to let people maintain their current health insurance, and we'll see some votes in the house of representatives as soon as friday on that proposition. helping the president keep his promise to the american people that if you like what you have, you can keep it. which currently has proven not to be the case. just a moment -- just a month
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ago, democrats of all stripes were declaring that obamacare was the law of the land and condemning attempts on our side of the aisle to actually reform it. now we're seeing more and more of our friends across the aisle contemplating serious changes aimed at fixing some of the law's myriad problems. some, but not all, of the problems with obamacare have become painfully obvious. some, because i think most people probably think obamacare has already been implemented when, in fact, it has only begun to be implemented. but we know obamacare is forcing people to lose their health insurance and/or their doctor. it may be that even in the exchanges, the hospital which they would prefer to be treated at or the doctor from whom they would prefer to have their care with, they won't be available on
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the exchanges. we also know that obamacare is raising health care premiums. again, the president promised that if you -- if we passed obamacare, we would see a reduction of the premiums for a family of four of about $2,500. instead of seeing premiums go down, we're seeing premiums go up. and we know that medicare and medicaid remain on an unsustainable path, and we're actually seeing in many states the states opting to expand the medicaid program when they can't even care for or pay for the people who are currently in the medicaid program. and we have found that as organized labor has gone to the white house, they said that because of the incentives in obamacare, that many full-time employees will now be put on part-time work in order to avoid some of the penalties associated with obamacare, and we know that in the medical device sector,
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one of the most innovative parts of health care today, that those jobs are moving offshore. they're moving outside of the united states, and it's stifling innovation, this medical device tax which is part of the pay-for of obamacare. but here is another issue that hasn't gotten much attention lately. i was a little surprised when i came across this article in the "atlantic" magazine, but the truth is the obamacare structure penalizes people for getting married. certain couples who do qualify for the medicare -- for the obamacare subsidies right now would lose those subsidies if they got married. in some cases, the obamacare marriage penalty could amount to thousands of dollars. so just when you think that things couldn't quite get any worse, you find out they do. as if all these problems weren't bad enough, obamacare has also created a magnet for fraud and corruption in the so-called
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navigators program. you remember the navigators were -- were created in order to help people sign up on the exchanges, but we know the navigators will be collecting sensitive tax and personal information, medical, both physically and mental health information from folks all across the country as they try to navigate obamacare, but we also know because the secretary of health and human services admitted this last week that they're not subject to any kind of background check, including a criminal background check. as a matter of fact, i think secretary sebelius surprised an awful lot of people when she admitted that people participating in the navigator program could possibly be convicted felons because there is simply no screening mechanism to bar them from participating in the process and no background check whatsoever. and then we have learned as a result of some creative journalists, we have learned
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that navigators, including those in my home state of texas, were actively encouraging people to break the law as a process of signing up for the obamacare exchanges. it is simply astounding that the administration is urging the american people to give their social security numbers and sensitive personal information to people who have not been properly vetted. yesterday i called on the president to suspend the navigators program, and i want to reiterate that call today. he needs to end it, at least until basic precautions are taken to prevent identity theft and corruption and fraud. given the lack of federal background checks and other safeguards, this program is an inhave invitation to fraud and identity theft. as with so many other aspects of obamacare, the problem with the navigators program are the result of politically motivated
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decisions. don't just take my word for it. consider the scathing indictment that was recently issued by michael astru who served as h.h.s.'s general counsel from 1989-1992. more recently, he served as the commissioner for social security from 2007-2013. writing in "the weekly standard," mr. astru points out, and i quote --" instead of hiring well-screened, well-trained and well-supervised workers, h.h.s. decided to build political support for the affordable care act by pouring money into supportive organizations so they could launch poorly trained workers into their communities without obtaining criminal background checks or creating systems for monitoring their activities." close quote. over the long term, we need to dismantle obamacare entirely and replace it with patient-centered alternatives that will actually
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bring costs down, improve the quality of care by making more care accessible and leaving the choices with consumers and their families, patients and their doctors making the decisions, not washington, d.c. in the short-term, we need to also dismandating the navigators program before it unleashes a -- dismantle the navigators program before it unleashes a wave of fraud and corruption. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: before i make my remarks, i ask unanimous consent that senator reed from rhode island be recognized immediately following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. crapo: thank you, madam president. i rise today also to speak about a subject on the mind of all americans, and that is the rollout of the affordable protection -- the patient protection and affordable care act or obamacare. many of us have predicted the
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implementation of obamacare would result in difficulties for american families, businesses and our still-fragile economy. we spoke about the tax hikes that would come to the rising premiums, the canceled policies, the benefit cuts to medicare programs for seniors and other problems in the flawed law. still, the president insisted that he was right and that he knew best what americans wanted. since then, countless opportunities have been provided for our colleagues to join us in defunding or at least delaying the implementation of this damaging law. to further the confusion, the administration has elected to change the law to suit its political advantage. and now that act 1 has come and gone, millions of americans are becoming feignfully aware of the reality of how obamacare will affect them. the membership are seeing the effects of -- the american people are seeing the effects of obamacare, not based on the rhetoric of politicians or the debate here in congress, but by
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their own personal experiences in dealing with it. the initial feedback is clear, and it is not pretty. the trillion dollars in new taxes that i led the fight against on the floor during the initial obamacare debate are now largely in effect, and as i said and many others warned and the joint tax committee has actually confirmed, a significant portion of those tax increases are hitting squarely on the middle-class families the president solemnly pledged to protect. he said that people in america who make less than $250,000 per couple or $200,000 per individual would not see one time of tax increases as a result of the act, yet now we are seeing that the square burden of this huge tax increase is falling squarely on those in what the president has defined as the middle class. the american people are also now experiencing for themselves the reality we have long warned
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against, that the president has also broken his promise that his health care plan would lower premiums by $2,500 on the average for americans. in fact, "the washington post" fact checker gave that president's pledge a three pinocchio score for not being true. yet another promise proven to be false is the president's pledge to the american people if you like your doctor and your health care plan, you can keep it. again, "the washington post" reviewed this pledge but this time it gave the president four pinocchios saying the president's promise apparently came with a very large caveat. if you like your health care plan you'll be able to keep your health care plan if we deem it adequate. i recently received a letter from nancy from eagle, idaho about the loss of her husband's employer provided health care coverage. the cancellation reads that due to the affordable care act and
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unprecedented increases in health care costs, effective january 1, 2014, traditional medical insurance will no longer be available. instead, his employer will offer two preventive health care plans and preferred him to the exchange to purchase his insurance. after browsing the exchange weapon site nancy and her husband realize they'll pay $500 more a month on health insurance premiums or pay a lower rate which would result in limited access to providers and hospitals. simply put, this is wrong. but i fear that there will be many more like nancy with similar experiences. this week i was contacted by matt from meridian, idaho about his wife who receives coverage through her employer. they will see their premiums rise and a considerably higher deductible due to the neefdz cost to her employer because of
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obamacare. just one month after the obamacare exchange rolled out at leez 3.5 million americans have received insurance cancellation notices and this number is expected to dramatically increase in coming months. over 100,000 of those people have been -- live in idaho, according to the associated press. according to media reports, the administration knew that americans would not be able to keep their current coverage even though the president continued to push the message that people could. after breaking this promise the president is now telling millions of americans who have had their insurance canceled that they should shop around for policies that, frankly, could be more costly and require them to change their doctors. many of my colleagues here in the senate has as a response to this are cosponsoring a measure known as if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. this act is one that the senate should should immediately take up and pass. idahoans are now learning that
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the flawed health care law will force them to change their plans in many cases paying higher premiums. while this law was sold on the premise of providing health care coverage for the uninsured, it is creating new uninsured americans who will be forced to enter the troubled federal health care exchanges. at the same time, the administration refuses calls for transparency and hiets hides information about enrollment numbers. it's hard for me to believe that in the year 2013 when we have yoinch phones, tablets, twitter and google, that the administration has no ability to release enrollment numbers. according to documents released from the house oversight committee, six people signed up for obamacare on day one. we understand that more are signing up now but it could be that the administration has such low numbers of enrollment for their signature achievement that they don't want to present the accurate facts. many of us here in this body are
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concerned automatics about the security risk posed by obamacare. several weeks ago, republican members of the senate finance committee wrote to the health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius asking whether all standards were met prior to the launch of healthcare.gov, the web site to sign up for obamacare. we've asked secretary sebelius to provide answers and information to a series of questions dealing what level of security and privacy measures were undertaken prior to the launch of the web site to safeguard the privacy of those americans signing up for coverage through healthcare.gov. this is a serious concern that must be addressed. additionally, because of the law, some businesses are cutting back on employees and on hours making it harder for americans to find full-time jobs. and those who do hold onto their full-time jobs could lose their employer-sponsored private insurance and are instead being
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dumped into the exchange or into a failing medicaid system. these are just some of the unfortunate realities we are facing with the implementation of obamacare. as these stories continue to pour in, i urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle along with the president to carefully listen to the american people, to the american businesses, and others that take -- and take this feedback and work together to defund and repeal every plement lement that proves not to work. we must replace those failed policies with true reforms that are in the best interests of the american people. and in the best interest of the american economy. from day one the administration has continued to make excuses for why healthcare.gov is not functioning properly even though they have had three years to prepare and perform testing. the american people see now that this law is more than just a web site problem. it is a train wreck. and this system was not ready
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and the law looks impossible to fix. simply put, the promises of this law are nothing like its realities. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: madam president, i rise to express my deepest sympathy to the senator from oklahoma, senator james inhofe no and his wife kay on the sudden and untimely loss of their son perry this weekend in a plane crash. i extend my prayers to the inhofe problem. perry inhofe was a licensed pilot and flight instructor with a family of his own. flying is integral to the inhofe family. i know that from my service from senator inhofe on the armed services committee as cochair with him of the army caucus, a
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caucus he created along with senator dan akaka to support the men and women serving in the army pnd and i know his intense involvement in flying. i hope the memories of the time he had with his son will sustain him. senator inhofe is a man of great integrity, great dedication the to his state and to the nation and at this time of loss, again, i only hope that the memories, the example of this son, his son's service and his courage and faith and love will sustain the inhofe family. madam president, if i may on another matter, it's clear that we have honest disagreements about how we should address our budget. i believe the path forward should be fair and balanced and that's not what we have seen today to date. we've enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction with $1.8 trillion coming from spending cuts.
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these cuts put tremendous pressure on important domestic investments in areas like education, health care and national security. i don't believe that cuts in domestic programs that invest in our future and help low and middle-income families is the right thing to do especially when we can close egregious tax loopholes that benefit multinational corporations and some of the wealthiest americans. again, we have made significant progress in deficit reduction. the bulk of that has been cutting programs that invest in the country and help families. to go forward we need a balanced approach. selective cuts, but also closing some of these egregious loopholes that are benefiting not the small business men and women in rhode island but multinational corporations, not working wage earners in rhode island, but some of the wealthiest americans. i know some of my colleagues disagree with me but in order to
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address our long-term fiscal challenges, the brinksmanship has to stop, the drawing lines in the sand and daring people to cross them has to stop. what we need is not to surrender our principles but to reach principled compromise. and that's why we should provide i think immediate certainty that the shutdowns and threats that wreck the economy are totally offer off the table and we can do this by agreeing to adequate topline numbers for the appropriations process for fiscal year 2014 and 2015 and eliminating the job-killing sequestration and we can move forward to a long-term debate about our fiscal challenges. we can then build consensus and reach this principled compromise. and in reaching that compromise, i would urge my colleagues to include policies that focus on jobs and economic growth that restores fairness to our tax code and preserves hard
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earned medicare and social security benefits. looking over the last knew years the uncertainty, the brinksmanship in according to most economists has robbed us of growth. that growth would have put more americans to work and it would have contributed to deficit reduction even more than we've already been able to do. and so if we're really serious about deficit reduction, if we're really serious about narrowing the gap in terms of equality in our society, then we have to emphasize not only wise fiscal policies that reduce the deficit directly but wise fiscal policies spols that encourage growth and also -- policies that also reduce the deficit. let us agree to these topline numbers. let's eliminate the sequester and let's move forward. that's why we're sent here. americans want us to keep the economy moving forward and to get the economy working for them. they don't want to see us
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engaged in procedural maneuvers that simply leave us without adequate progress on these extraordinarily important issues to them. we are recovering from the most recent self-inflicted wound, the government shutdown and near default. that manufactured crisis was absolutely unnecessary and particularly unnecessary to threaten the credit of the united states. a vast majority of americans are clear that at a minimum we should keep the government open and we should pay our bills. we've always done that. only in the last few years and harking back to when chairman -- speaker, rather, gingrich was speaker did we engage in a government shutdown. it just doesn't really work for americans. they do understand, we have difference in policies, they do understand that we have to
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debate these differences, but as a threshold level, government has to be working for them, not spraddedly cli but -- sporadically but constantly and we can't threaten the credit of the united states. now, jumping from these crises to crises, manufactured crises, is just simply no way to do the job. and as i said before, there are immediately tasks before us. we have to have a reasonable expenditure level for our budgets for fy 14 and 15. sequestration must go. and then we have to start looking at longer term problems driven by demographics. we know the sequestration is harming our job growth. o.m.b. -- excuse me c.b.o. has estimated the sequestration will cost the economy 900,000 jobs. simply by suspending,
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eliminating sequestration if we can generate 900,000 jobs most americans would say that's the right policy. if you can just do that and create jobs, then do it. and it's obvious that sequestration is not workable. the house of representatives our colleagues have had very difficult times passing bills that adhere to sequestration, bills that traditional passed overwhelmingly, infrastructure bills, transportation bills, and if we can't do that under the pressure of sequestration, then, again, we're back to a dysfunctional government. it might be formally open but it's not helping people do things we have to do, economies grow, states build bridges and sewers and highways. now, senator mikulski has done an extraordinary job as chairwoman of the appropriations committee, and she has been working hard to make sure that we bring bills to the floor that
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not only have the support of our members, our colleagues, but also meet the needs of the american people. now, i have the privilege of chairing the interior subcommittee. we have been able, working with my colleague, senator murkowski from alaska, to propose -- we haven't brought it through the subcommittee and the full committee, but to propose a mark that would respond to the real needs of this country in terms of sewer construction, in terms of many programs that are vital to the economic vie at of every american community. -- vitality of every american community. on the other side the house is talking about a cutting of $1.65 billion, more than 75%. it just deaf states the -- deaf states the programs. 97,000 jiewr jobs and these are the kind of construction jobs,
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high-paying jobs that allow families to stay above water and allow communities to prosper because those workers that are putting in those infrastructure projects are also going to local supermarkets, to local restaurants, paying the fees and dues to the little league teams and they're doing the things that we expect every family should be able to do and we hope every family can do. in the transportation bill, for example, we were able to maintain our promise to fund transit, airport highway systems and we've been able to set aside more than $1 billion for the popular tiger program. which is an effort that has benefited every state in this country in terms of infrastructure projects. looking across the capitol at the house republican transportation bill, they're cutting by $7.7 billion. even more than last year's sequestration level. it not only eliminates tiger grants for 2014, it reaches back to 2013 tiger grants and cuts
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them by $237 million. and these kinds of cuts are untenable, and they also signal a very different attitude here. it was at one time clear that transportation was one of those issues that united us, republicans, democrats, the north, the south, the east, the west, because it was something that every community needed and every community understood, and now we see this dichotomy, and that is unhealthy for our government and for our economy. house appropriations chairman hal rogers said at the time when they were bringing this up, with this action, the house has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget adopted just three months ago. thus, i believe the house has made its choice, sequestration, and its unrealistic and
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ill-conceived discretionary cuts must come to an end. so even the chairman of the house appropriations committee is signaling that sequestration is untenable and unworkable. and on this side of the aisle, chairman mikulski has been a strong voice echoing -- not only echoing but asserting that position constantly. burr we can't get rid of sequestration with spending cuts alone. we can't cut our way to prosperity. revenue has to be part of the solution. in fact, as we have done over the last several years, we have cut discretionary spending dramatically. we are down to not fat but bone, and so we need additional revenues. but there is some good news. there are some loopholes, egregious loopholes that in and of themselves should be closed, regardless if we were dealing with an issue of deficit and sequestration, they are just not appropriate, they are not efficient. they don't add to the overall economic productivity of the country. they do benefit very narrow interests. and so it comes down i think to
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whether my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are willing to see these special preferences prevail or whether the national economy and the families across this country will benefit. we have to move forward. we have to emphasize things that will help us, for example, create more manufacturing jobs in this time and for the future. i think at one point we thought that manufacturing was passe, and we discovered it is not only passe but absolutely vital, because you can't take new innovation, new discoveries which we are so good at and commercialize them and then find out new products in that commercialization process unless you have manufacturing. we learn a lot on the manufacturing floor. we discover that when we have looked around and seen products that we have developed intellectually become not only used but improved by people who have the ability to manufacture them, and we have to get back to
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doing that. we have got to be able to align our work force and our education system so that we have the skills from this -- in this next century. and this job training has to be accomplished and has to be efficient and adequate. all this requires investment in resources, not simply cutting away and cutting away and cutting away. and then ultimately as we understand and as our predecessor, particularly my predecessor understood, education is the engine that pulls this country forward. we used to assume we were the most educated. we were the country with the best record of college graduates. we were the country that invented public education for everyone. and now we look around the world and we have slipped in terms of college graduates, we have slipped in terms of skills. our public education system needs to be reinvigorated, and it's not just with suggestions from the sidelines. it's not just with new
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approaches. it's also with real resources. and these investments have to be made. it's a multifaceted approach, but i think we have to begin with just the simple understanding as we go forward, we need to provide the economy, our constituents and ourselves the certainty of an adequate funding level for the next two years. we need to suspend, dispense with, postpone, whatever the appropriate term, sequestration because it is not going to help us grow the economy. in fact, it will take away about 900,000 jobs. and then we have to certainly make it clear that we will not threaten the creditworthiness of the united states by defaulting on our debt. if we can do these things -- and i believe we can -- we can provide the certainty that our private entrepreneurs need to
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make real investments in the economy and to grow it, and in all of this, we have to bring a balanced approach. it's not just cutting. it's expenditure cuts wisely chosen together with revenue wisely chosen through closing loopholes that will get us a growing economy, hopefully increase opportunity and put us back on the path to profound sustained economic recovery. and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate
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allowing some of these large pharmacy facilities to register themselves and submit themselves to more fda scrutiny similar to the kind that a traditional mutt drug manufacture would undergo. >> who are the main sponsors in thinthe senate? >> innocent its tom harkin who's the head of the help committee and it is the more alexander who is the republican ranking member of that committee. it's got widespread support so you don't really have a division between the parties here and, in fact, senator alexander like many other republican senators comes from a state that was very badly affected by this outbreak and so he has a very personal and strong connection to trident sure something happened. >> republican senator david vitter of louisiana has an
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amendment that deals with health care. how does that tie into this bill. what is he hoping to do? >> in large part the big picture is he's trying to draw more attention to what he sees as a flaflawed and obama's helped a , the affordable care act. this is something he's been doing to a number of bills over the last few months trying to put in an amendment and trying to put a delay on these bills to bring attention, the specific piece of the amendment he has here has to do with members of congress and their staff come and which ones have been recovered through health care exchanges which the law requires most members and their staffs to be covered by and those might be exempted from the requirement the kessy is making the point that people should not exempt themselves from this requirement of health care law because it would show the hypocrisy of those, lawmakers. >> his amendment won't be a part of the final senate bill?
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>> i guess it is possible it could pass. the key question here is how much of this amendment he uses as a procedural delay. and at this point it really wouldn't be that much of a delay. it's just whether this bill gets passed early in the week or drags all the way into the weekend which was most upset his colleagues in the senate. spent the bill has passed the house and your article the headline said senate clears the way for tighter restrictions on compounding pharmacies after deaths. how about in the senate, is the white house expected to sign a? >> this bill has more support than almost any bill you'll see in congress these days. it pass without a vote in the house. nor no objections from house members and ironically just before the shutdown showing when nothing you get passed and nothing had happened in washington this was one of the few things that had overwhelming support and it was 97 innocent. the president should decide and this is sure to become law.
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>> following noah bierman on twitter. you can read his articles on boston.com. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> later today the joint economic committee hears from jason from, chairman of the council of economic advisers as he talks about the current state of the economy and its future outlook. that is live at 2:30 p.m. eastern time on c-span3. tomorrow also and c-span3, janet yellen tap by president obama to be the new head of the federal reserve goes before the senate finance committee for her confirmation and. live coverage also starts at 10 a.m. eastern time. here on c-span2, the senate in recess right now for its weekly party lunches. we are plan to bring to the white house briefing live at 1:15 p.m. eastern and until then we'lwe will bring you some of homeland security committee confirmation hearing from earlier today for j. johnson,
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president obama's pic for the next secretary of homeland security. johnson recently served as defense department general counsel. is also former general counsel for the air force. if confirmed he will replace janet napolitano. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. ranking member coburn, senders of this committee, thank you for scheduling this hearing to evaluate my nomination. i want to thank senators menendez and booker for taking the time to be here to offer their remarks. i appreciate their generous words. i'd like to introduce my immediate family, doctor susan demarco, my wife. my daughter, natalie johnson. my son, j. johnson junior and my sister from birmingham, alabama.
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i am pleased they can be here. i think the public officials in the room will appreciate, and they know that the burdens of public office are made lighter by the support and engagement of your family. i am honored by the trust and confidence that president obama has placed in me by nominating me to be secretary of homeland security. i appreciate the letters of support address to this committee from the law enforcement organizations, retired senior military officers, former officials of both the bush and obama administrations. i respectfully submit that i'm ready, willing and able to lead the department of homeland security. i've experience in law enforcement or as a federal prosecutor in you new york i wod with law enforcement officers of the secret service, what was thethen called the immigration d naturalization service, the fbi, the dea and other federal, state and local law enforcement
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agencies. i have experience as a key member of the management team, a large and complex government agency. for 27 months i was part of the senior management team of the department of the air force. for four years i was part of the senior management team of the department of defense. during that time i sat at the right hand, learned from and supported t to outstanding americans in secretary of defense, robert gates and leon panetta. at the same time as the senior lawyer in the department of defense i led a legal committee of over 10,000 civilian and military lawyers. during the four years of president obama's first term i was at the center of the development and execution of many of this administration's counterterrorism policies. last year i worked closely with secretary panetta as he coordinated the department of defense's contributions to the response to hurricane sandy. the mission of dhs are to prevent terrorism and enhance
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security, secure and manage our borders, enforce and administer our immigration laws, safeguard and secure cyberspace. and ensure resilience to disasters. if confirmed, i will vigorously pursue all of these missions. they represent the most basic and important services our government can provide for its people. if confirmed, i will work to reinforce among all the women and men of the department, the common unifying mission that binds them together, homeland security. if confirmed, i pledge to be a champion for every man and woman of the department of homeland security and their families. i will mourn the death of any man or woman in the department, including those killed in the line of duty, like tsa officer fernandez on november 1. those at the department of defense know that i worked hard to earn the respect of all the men and women in uniform from the chairman of the joint chiefs
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of staff, our 4-star combatant commanders, to more junior officers and enlisted personnel the risk their lives in special operations. my family and i spent thanksgiving 2010 at a military hospital in germany. i spent thanksgiving 2012 with the troops at a remote command outpost in afghanistan in the mountains near pakistan. i was honored when an elite team of navy seals attended my farewell at the pentagon. if confirmed, i will devote time and attention to the management issues that i know dh as faces, as this committee knows, there are leadership vacancies within dhs of alarming proportions. as i speak, the department of government charged with the vital mission of homeland security has no secretary, no deputy secretary and a number of other senior positions are vacant. if confirmed as secretary might immediate priorities starting the day i take the oath will be
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to work with the white house and the senate to fill the remainder of these key leadership positions. the other management challenges faced by dhs are also well-known to this committee. if confirmed, i intend to continue the progress toward unqualified audited financial statements. i will work to get dhs off the gl high-risk list. i will be a hawk when it comes to identifying fraud, waste, and abuse in the use of taxpayer dollars. if confirmed, i pledge not to shrink from difficult or controversial decisions. those at the pentagon and in the field know my track record in this regard. ranging from politically charged matters of personal policy to the locality of lethal force. if confirmed, i will work to implement all legislation enacted into law. like president obama, many in congress, the business
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community, and most of the american public, i support comprehensive commonsense immigration reform. if reform is enacted into law i will work to prepare dhs to administer the changes in law and ensure that dhs staff -- ghs has the staff resources and capability to do so. >> if confirmed, i intend to be transparent with the american people about our efforts on their behalf. while the senior lawyer for the department of defense i made the extra effort to publicly explain and defend u.s. national security policies, including in speeches at the heritage foundation in october 2011, and the oxford union in november 2012. i supported the declassification of the military's counterterrorism efforts in yemen and somalia in the war powers of support -- report submitted to congress june 2012. and if confirmed, i pledged transparency and candor with
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congress. those of you from the armed services committee know that these are not just words for me. here again i have a track record, from secretaries gates and panetta i learned a little bipartisan candor goes a long way and promotes goodwill among all of us who came to washington for the common purpose of serving the nation. i have tremendous respect for the united states send it and its prerogatives. 35 years ago i worked in this very building as a summer intern for senator daniel patrick money. i was an impressionable 20 year-old college student been. all summer i said in a back office with the sender's press secretary, tim russert, clipping press literally, running errands and researching legislation. the experience was exciting and informative, it did much to inspire my public service. there's another thing that motivates me to leave private life one more time to accept this particular assignment.
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in my family photo album is a childhood picture of me and my sisters and next to my dad's red 1966 buick convertibconvertib le. in what was then public parking lot in front of the u.s. capital. the most striking thing about the photo is that our cars parked just a few feet away from the steps to the eastern front of the capitol building. i looked at the photo today and realized that it captures the period in our history that is probably lost in my lifetime and perhaps were ever. september 1 11th and the other terrorist attacks here changed all of that. as i sat in the rose garden on october 18, i am a new yorker and september 11 happens to be my birthday. i was present in manhattan that day. and was an eyewitness to the events of that day. i know the shock and the potential for death and destruction. that a breach of our homeland security can cause. i also recall that sinking feeling of guilt and uselessness
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that i personally felt in the face of the tragedy because i'd left public service at the pentagon just eight months before. september 11 changed me. it changed millions of us. it motivates me to answer this call to lead the men and women of the department of homeland to get a. thank you for your time and attention, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for that testimony. i read the testimony going home on the train last night and got to the last part, and it was very moving. still is removing. our committee rules require when you answer our questions you need to be under oath and you've done this before a timer to some good ask you to stand and i'll administer this oath and they will jump right into the questions. please stand. raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so
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help you god? >> ideal. >> please be seated. -- i do. >> please be seated. >> going to start our questions with the three standard questions that we ask of all nominees, and if you would, just answer each one after i've asked that question. first question from is anything you're aware of any background that might present a conflict of interest with the duties of the office to which you've been nominated? >> no, sir. >> do you know anything personal or otherwise that would anyway prevent you from fully and honorably discharging the responsiveness of the office to which you have been nominated? >> no, sir. >> and finally do you agree with output is based respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before any duly constituted many of congress if you are confirmed? >> yes, sir. >> thank you.
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take just a minute, talk to us about your parents. tell us if you will specifically about the values they instilled in you or maybe your sister, but the kind of values that they instilled in you that enabl enad you to i think a remarkable career today and have prepared might even help you in the days that lie ahead if you are confirmed. >> thank you for the question. my parents could not be here today. there in my hometown in new york. they live in the same home that day and i have lived in, i grew up in for almost 50 years. i'm sure they're watching right now. >> i thought they might be. >> they are, i'm sure. if my dad can find the right c-span channel. >> maybe we'll have a lot of reruns. >> from my dad, stability. i think the right value set. my mother, positive outlook,
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never give up, never set limitations on your own abilities. she encouraged me to do that when i was a c&d student in high school. my guidance counselor told her your son should go to a two-year college. she refused to accept that and continue to push me harder, and i have tried to do the same with my own kids. >> if i have a chance to meet him soon, dr. coburn, and i would say probably some pretty good values as well. the department of homeland security just turned 10 years old this year and although the department is certainly experience growing pains, clearly it's come along way in improving our homeland security. and maturing the department. let's talk a bit about vision. if confirmed, what is your vision of where you want to take this department in the years to come? what is your vision? where'd you want to take the department? what would be some of your key
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priorities? finally what you think of the most significant challenges that you would face? >> every time i've accepted a public service position, my overriding goal is to accept, is to lead the position of a better than i found it. i believe you are correct that dhs has had some growing pains over the last 10 years. this very large bureaucracy, 22 components with rather different missions. my first priority will be to work to fill the remainder of the management vacancies if i am confirmed. the substantive priorities are well known. i hope to be vigilant with respect to counterterrorism, border security, the effective administration of our immigration laws responding to natural disasters. i also believe we need to move the ball forward on cybersecurity. cybersecurity is something i
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became a queen with at dod. the other management issues that are well known to this committee -- became acquainted with. i must devote time and attention to. i would like to see dhs get off the gao high-risk list. i read that report. i've read much of dr. coburn's writings on dhs, on management efficiency. i agree with much of it. i agree with what he had to say about the pentagon, for example. in many respects. and so the management issues are things that i expect to devote time and attention to, but we need to be vigilant in respect to homeland security. i recognize the issues with morale but i saw the most recent report. i hope to be a visible leader, remind people of the importance of the overriding unifying mission of homeland security. and i will work very hard, all my energy, to pursue all these
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missions because i deeply that homeland security, protection of public safety, the american public is the core mission of the united states government. >> all right, thank you. as i mentioned earlier, and others have alluded to it, you're a former general counsel to the air force, department of defense as well and you've got the village of working close with some outstanding leaders and very gifted managers. bill gates and leon panetta are among those. you've had the honor of working alongside literally thousands of brave men and women who put on the view from everyday and to go out and serve our country. could you share with us some of the lessons that you've learned about, those years, particularly working close with bob gates and leon panetta? some of the lessons you learned about leadership. some of the lessons you learned about managing a large organization and some of the lessons you learned may be about public service that will help better equipped to lead this department? >> leadership, management, help.
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>> secretary gates and secretary panetta had in my view two distinct styles of management which were both very effective in their own respects. dod is larger than dhs but it's very different in certain respects. i thought that they were both very disciplined, very focused, delegated when you do, focus on certain issues close to when you do. i expect to follow that model. being able to monitor the events of what's going on a very, very large bureaucracy with a lot of different components is a challenge. i recognize the importance of regular communication with component leaders. i also recognize, and i hope this goes to some of dr. coburn's questions, the
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importance -- i recognize that sometimes they bureaucracy can be totally wrong. i recall in particular receiving them it was a personnel action that was very old, and everybody up the chain said coordinate, coordinate, coordinate, coordinate. and i took a look at it myself, read the file very carefully and concluded, well, i just don't think this is right. and i remember ringing together around my conference table everybody who had coordinated let's do it on this particular action, and challenged a lot of the assumptions that have been gone into this issue literally for years. and after the meeting everybody who courted on before said we ought to take a second look at this. and whether it was that kind of thing or some of our counterterrorism operations, every once in a while i felt like it was 11

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